HARARE - If you wake up in the middle of the night and look at yourself in the mirror, are you happy with who looks back at you?
Or are you ashamed?
Much has been said and written about the enormous salaries CEOs have been paying themselves and we have to wonder what they see when they look at themselves in the mirror in the middle of the night.
So far, only three scandals have been exposed: The CEO of ZBC, currently suspended on full pay, earning $40 000 a month.
The CEO of Psmas medical aid society was paying himself $230 000 a month and thirteen other individuals in that senior management team a further $870 000 a month.
The Harare Town Clerk and his seventeen-man management team were getting $500 000 a month between them with the Town Clerk himself pocketing $37 000 every thirty days.
These three dozen people between them have been pocketing almost 1.7 million dollars every month. It’s a shocking amount by any standards but particularly disgraceful considering they are all engaged in quasi government establishments and directly concerned with the health and welfare of ordinary people’s daily lives.
Where is the empathy of people who are paying themselves such obscene salaries?
Do they drive around with blinkers on, seeing only their own road ahead and not the multitudes of desperate Zimbabweans struggling to make a living — selling vegetables, airtime and bric-a-brac on the pavements?
It is beyond comprehension that such excesses could be happening at a time when our economy is shrinking, when big companies are closing down every week and thousands of workers are being laid off every month.
Particularly nauseating is the case of the Psmas CEO who has been earning almost a quarter of a million dollars a month.
Perhaps when he looks in the mirror in the middle of the night he might see the face of the old gogo or sekuru who was turned away from a hospital today?
Every day pensioners are among countless Psmas members being turned away from hospitals because their medical aid cards are being rejected and they don’t have the cash to pay the laboratory for blood tests, X ray or scans they need.
These are the same pensioners who faithfully pay every month to Psmas in medical aid contributions but are being denied the services their monthly payments are supposed to guarantee.
Just one month of Dube’s salary would be enough to pay 4 600 pensioners medical aid contributions or to pay for 4 600 disadvantaged, vulnerable children to attend primary school for a term.
These days there is much talk about social responsibility but it’s an ugly truth that while we pick up litter and fix the potholes outside our homes, the managers at Town House are earning half a million dollars a month while we do their jobs for them.
It is not so much social responsibility that is needed to lift Zimbabwe out of its present meltdown, it is accountability.
We must applaud the individuals and members of the media who are highlighting these obscene pay packets.
They are teaching us how critical it is to expose the orgy of looting that is going on by people in positions of authority and responsibility.
For far too long, our silence has enabled the rich to get richer and richer while the country slips into the drain.
Who is next we wonder?
GMB, Air Zimbabwe, NRZ, Zesa Holdings, Tel One?
Or is this all window dressing, sacrificing a few to conceal the really big fish who have become multi-millionaires while serving as ordinary government ministers?